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J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Jun 13;123(23):5473-81.

Chemistry of the diazeniumdiolates. 2. Kinetics and mechanism of dissociation to nitric oxide in aqueous solution.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA.


Diazeniumdiolate ions of structure R(2)N[N(O)NO](-) (1) are of pharmacological interest because they spontaneously generate the natural bioregulatory species, nitric oxide (NO), when dissolved in aqueous media. Here we report the kinetic details for four representative reactivity patterns: (a) straightforward dissociation of the otherwise unfunctionalized diethylamine derivative 2 (anion 1, where R = Et) to diethylamine and NO; (b) results for the zwitterionic piperazin-1-yl analogue 4, for which the protonation state of the neighboring basic amine site is an important determinant of dissociation rate; (c) data for 5, a diazeniumdiolate derived from the polyamine spermine, whose complex rate equation can include terms for a variety of medium effects; and (d) the outcome for triamine 6 (R = CH(2)CH(2)NH(3)(+)), the most stable structure 1 ion identified to date. All of these dissociations are acid-catalyzed, with equilibrium protonation of the substrate preceding release of NO. Specific rate constants and pK(a) values for 2-6 have been determined from pH/rate profiles. Additionally, a hypsochromic shift (from approximately 250 to approximately 230 nm) was observed on acidifying these ions, allowing determination of a separate pK(a) for each substrate. For 6, the pK(a) value obtained kinetically was 2-3 pK(a) units higher than the value obtained from the spectral shift. Comparison of the ultraviolet spectra for 6 at various pH values with those for O- and N-alkylated diazeniumdiolates suggests that protonation at the R(2)N nitrogen initiates dissociation to NO at physiological pH, with a second protonation (at oxygen) accounting for both the spectral change and the enhanced dissociation rate at pH <4. Our results help to explain the previously noted variability in dissociation rate of 5, whose half-life we found to increase by an order of magnitude when its concentration was raised from near-zero to 1 mM, and provide mechanistic insight into the factors that govern dissociation rates among diazeniumdiolates of importance as pharmacologic progenitors of NO.

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